James HetfieldIn a recent interview with Kerrang! [via Blabbermouth] Metallica singer James Hetfield says that for the new album, producer Rick Rubin wants them to recreate the hunger surrounding the recording of Master of Puppets:

“On ‘St Anger’, [producer] Bob Rock did everything,” says Hetfield. “He was producer, engineer, bass player, babysitter, father figure — and Rick Rubin is pretty much the opposite, he’s not there to babysit. When he first came in, his opening statement was ‘I want you guys to impress me: I want you to feel like you’re starting out again’. He really wants us to get in the mind-set of ‘Master of Puppets’. It’s impossible to recreate what we were 20 years ago, it’s silly, but we had to get that hunger back.”

You’re right, James, it’s completely silly to think that that hunger can be recreated. In 1986 you were touring in a stinky, fart-filled van and trailer and crashing wherever you could when your liver couldn’t handle any more Jack. You were road-dogging it, playing your heart out every night because you needed it, it was all you had. Now you have families, millions of dollars, big houses, and you fly to every show. I’m not faulting Metallica for these things that success brings; they’re completely understandable and deserved. But how can you expect to recreate that feeling? The music is coming from a different place, and as such can’t be recreated; there’s no hunger because the band members don’t need it any more; they’re comfortable. For Rubin to ask them to recreate that would be as silly as saying to a current band of struggling 20 year olds “Hey guys, look forward to 20 years when you all have big mansions, kids, and expensive cars and write from that perspective.” The results would be an approximation at best and would come across as a story rather than personal introspection.

In short, the new Metallica album will likely suck. At best it will be an approximation of Master of Puppets, at worst a complete shitfest.


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